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After I'm Gone    by Laura Lippman order for
After I'm Gone
by Laura Lippman
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Bernadette 'Bambi' Brewer takes the concept of standing by your man to new heights in this latest Laura Lippman novel. Bambi met Felix Brewer in her late teens and the couple soon married. The mother of three daughters has stood by her husband through good times and the bad.

Then in 1976, with prison facing him for shady business practices, Felix suddenly went missing. Bambi had no idea what happened to her husband, but his mistress apparently knew more than she was sharing with her boyfriend's family and the authorities. A decade later, Julie, the mistress, vanished also. Everyone assumed she finally joined Felix wherever he was hiding out until the woman's remains were discovered in a secluded wooded area.

Fast forward twenty-six years after Julie's disappearance and we find that Roberto Sanchez, a retired Baltimore detective working on cold cases for a little extra money, has decided to look into the woman's unsolved death. As he pokes around the old records, Sanchez discovers a shoebox with old receipts that ultimately unlock the mystery to the decades old crime and shed some light on the Brewer family's long held secrets.

In this story a number of the characters, not just Felix, make some very bad choices that alter their lives. In the wake of the wreckage her husband leaves behind, Bambi must try to hold her family together but, obviously, that decision exacts a high price.

Unfolding across generations, After I'm Gone is more than just a murder mystery. It is a heartfelt tale of devastation and redemption, misplaced loyalties and one family's deep sorrow and their attempt to find closure from a major, emotional upheaval.

2nd Review by Mary Ann Smyth (Rating:3):

After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman is a poignant tale of what can happen to a family when the father and breadwinner disappears. There can be far-reaching ramifications that involve so much more than simply a missing person.

Lippman moves between the time when Felix Brewer cannot face the consequences of his own actions and thirty years later, when his wife and three daughters are still struggling with his disappearance. Is he dead? If not, where did he go? Who is he with? Why did he not provide for his family before he blew town? So many scenarios have been put forth as to where and why Felix did this.

Felix had been dancing on the edge of the law for years and his escapades finally caught up with him. Officials were ready to step in and change his and his family's lives forever. Felix dearly loved his wife but that did not stop him from stepping out with other women when the mood struck him. His girlfriend of the moment fully expected to disappear with him. Possibly she met up with him somewhere because twenty-six years ago she too disappeared! That theory proves false when her murdered body surfaces.

Sandy Sanchez, a retired Baltimore police detective, now works for the department as a consultant on cold cases. He remembers the girlfriend's murder as never being solved. Good place to start. His investigation reveals much of what Felix's family went through with him gone. Hatred. Remorse. Sorrow. Fear. Lost love. Sandy uncovers so many emotions simmering even after all the years. Forgiveness doesn't seem to be a part of the equation.

After I'm Gone inspires the reader to try to place themselves in Felix's family's shoes. How would you react? Could you get past the desertion? Could you keep the secrets for such a long period of time? Would you want to? Would you still have love in your heart for Felix? Don't miss this outstanding book from an outstanding writer.

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